Sunday, May 2, 2010
The story of a brilliant knock and South Africa's strange tactics
I see that the unpredictable, but the destructive Indian batting line-up have battered the Saffer bowlers into submission to help them win the match. No team would like to bowl to an in form Indian batting line-up for sure as they can take the game away from the opposition ranks.
Yes, the Indian team played well, but the Saffers made some crucial mistakes which didn't help. South Africa won the toss and elected to field and if a team fields first, one has to look for wickets, but it was puzzling to see Steyn bowling just one over with the new ball and he bowled his second over, when more than 10 were already bowled by the Saffers and at that time both Raina and Yuvraj had got settled at the crease. Steyn is very much a attacking bowler and should never be asked to to contain the batsmen, but Smith used him defensively. He looked so much better, when bowling for the RCB team in the IPL as he bowled quick and looked to take wickets upfront. Saffers are usually good in the field, but today even in the field they looked flat.
I had said it on my blog that Raina and their X factor Yuvraj are the two key players in the side and both clicked today. I have to say that Raina played a great knock today as he scored a brilliant hundred. Let me say it again that getting a century in a T/20 game is difficult as there are only 20 overs to play. Yes, he was a bit lucky to survive against short pitch stuff early on and was caught of a no ball, but Raina has the great gift of timing and can also play powerful shots. He is very strong through the mid-wicket region and straight down the ground. His ability to clear the boundary rope on even big grounds like St. Lucia makes him a dangerous player.
Yuvraj too played better than what he did in the IPL. Yuvraj can be more destructive than what he was today, but he gave Raina good support and the Indian management would be happy that he has got some form under his belt. He is still the X factor in the side as he can cause mayhem, by not just hitting a six or two, but can easily smash 3 or 4 sixes in a single over. No ground is big for him as with his high back-lift, his reach and power can clear the boundary rope easily. Indian team always looks good, when Yuvraj fires and with both Dhoni and Pathan coming in at 5 and 6 respectively makes the Indian batting line up look very strong.
South Africa's chase too was strange as Kallis and Smith were happy to take singles and didn't go for the big shots in the power play though, they were chasing a score in excess of 180. Yes, they accelerated once the score was over 100, but it was too late. One can't expect Morkel and De Villers to score at about 20 runs per over as even in modern days, it is almost impossible to do that and as expected they lost. Dhoni utilised all his spinners well as they were able to choke the Saffers at least till the 12th or 13th over. It isn't very easy to slog the spinners at St. Lucia as it is a big ground.
It isn't good news for other teams as the Indian batting line up unlike the last tournament, seem to be in good form and an in form Indian batting line up can put the opposition out of the game by getting a huge score.
South Africa would be disappointed with their performance and have to seriously look at some of their tactics otherwise, for the umpteenth time in major tournaments, they would go back home empty handed.